Companion plants for Dieffenbachia

Michael AKA Leekle2ManE - Zone 9a - Lady LakeApril 28, 2013

I am only JUST starting to get into adding house plants to my... shed. No seriously. Don't judge me!

Okay, not really. I'm just getting my toes wet with keeping house plants around and I have started with two types of Dieffenbachia (exotica and camille) (And yes, I'm aware of the 'danger' of this plant). I have managed to keep them alive and flourishing for almost two months now and I have no real issues with either of them.

But what I would like to do is set up a container with a stalk of exotica, a stalk of camille and... something else. The problem is I'm having a hard time finding other shade-loving house plants that might work well as a companion plant for the Dieffenbachia. I'm not overly worried about having flowers, preferring interesting foliage over blooms, but I wouldn't mind adding a punch of color to mix in with the creams and greens of the D. exotica and D. camille. I have some Party Time Alternanthera as well, but I think, and could be wrong here, that the Alternanthera likes a bit more sun than the Dieffenbachia.

A quick run-down on the Dieffenbachia to help with suggestions:

Likes shade
Likes moist, but not wet, soil
Likes high humidity
Gets fed about once every two weeks
Grows to a little over 18"
Variegated Green and Creme colored foliage.

Thank you in advance for any forth-coming suggestions.

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Check out some aglaonemas.

Might be just what you're looking for. :)

    Bookmark   April 28, 2013 at 10:07PM
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Calatheas give a lot of colour and there's a good range of them available.

    Bookmark   April 29, 2013 at 3:43AM
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Tiffany, purpleinopp GardenWeb, Z8b Opp, AL

I put this pot together last week, Dief in the middle, wax Begonias, Tradescantia fluminensis, Callisia. The Begonias and Tradescantia both make white flowers in abundance, although these Tradescantia cuttings came from plants I've used for cuttings so often recently, they haven't had a chance to make more flowers. In a couple weeks, these cuttings should have flowers. Probably not available for sale, a weed if it hits the ground, easy to obtain by trade or postage. The Callisia you'd find would likely be slightly different, with purple in the back of the leaves, C. repens, a hanging house plant, most likely.

Wax Begonias never stop blooming unless it gets too dark or cold. I'm going for a just green/white thing with this pot, but wax B's also come in red, pink, salmony colors. They can have plain green leaves or bronze/burgundy leaves. Available in the annuals section at the store but are tender perennials that are happy inside for winter. If you want to put some in the ground, they will come back in the spring (if frost makes them go dormant for winter.) Some winters they may remain evergreen where you are. If so, or if brought inside, they may get too tall for your display. If so, just snap them off to desired height and put the snapped part in the pot or in the ground, submerging about 2-4" of stem.

That Alternanthera will live happily in shade but may lose most or all of its' pretty colors. I use that plant at the base of a lot of taller plants. Easy to multiply with cuttings.

Tradescantia zebrina would add some purple stripes to your display. Tradescantia pallida has completely purple leaves with little pink flowers. Both of these are creeping plants that would dangle over the edges. T. zebrina is usually a hanging basket house plant, T. pallida would be in the perennials section in FL. Both can be propagated by breaking off pieces and sticking the broken end in soil, or by laying it on the surface, making sure it maintains contact, with a U-shape wire or little rock. Tradescantia spathacea also has purple stripes but is a more upright plant. Considered a weed in FL, not sure if you could buy it, but would be easy to obtain in trade.

Hypoestes (polka dot plant) might appeal to you if you would enjoy a plant that needs to be nipped and monitored often, like a small child. The leaves have polka dot spots in white, pink, or red. They have a habit of getting tall & spindly, falling over if not trimmed often, so not for everyone. Also found with the annuals.

Your Dief would probably like to be quite a bit more dry than you think. Most plants would, the main mistake even those who have had plants around for a long time can make.

Syngonium might appeal, these would be found with house plants. The standard low-light vines like Pothos and heart-leaf Philodendron would be happy companions, dangling over the sides, hanging basket house plants.

Sweet potato vines come in various shades, chartreuse,...

    Bookmark   April 29, 2013 at 11:20AM
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teengardener1888(NY Albany 5a)

They can get along with philodendrons and peace lilies

    Bookmark   April 29, 2013 at 4:15PM
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Michael AKA Leekle2ManE - Zone 9a - Lady Lake

Thank you for the suggestions thus far. I really like the colors available for the aglaonemas, though the leaf shape is fairly close to the Dieffenbachia's. Granted, I didn't say I was looking for a differing leaf texture... and I'm not, necessarily, but it's something to consider.

I will have go through the list of plants that Purple suggested and see if anything else strikes my fancy. It never struck me that I could grab some of the vines from my Sweet Potatoes and plug them in, though my Sweet Potatoes are not the ornamental types, but the edibles.

I already have plenty of cuttings from my Alternanthera rooting and I guess it couldn't hurt too much to give them a go and see how they fair. Though, if they lose their swaths of pink, then what would be the point?

Thanks again folks.

    Bookmark   April 29, 2013 at 9:23PM
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Tiffany, purpleinopp GardenWeb, Z8b Opp, AL

This Alternanthera looks like this after being inside since the end of Nov. This pot is huge, (home to a 5-ft. tree also,) I had nowhere to put it for any direct sun. There's still some pink, but it's not at all as colorful.

You can see a lot of the plants I mentioned by clicking on my profile, link to blog there, which is really just an article about foliage plants. Won't hurt my feelings a bit if they all make you yawn and you come back here asking for more suggestions.

Sidebar, for anyone curious... There used to be heart-leaf Philo growing in the pot with this tree and I got bored with it and removed it last June when I repotted this tree. When I repot, I remove as much of the old dirt as I can, untangle the roots as much as possible, and trim usually about half of them off. Just this past week that leaf has come up. Apparently there was some roots left that stayed alive and, for some reason, after almost a whole year, are ready to make new foliage. Amazing.

    Bookmark   May 1, 2013 at 9:41AM
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If you want to try something with pink in the foliage, there are some pinkish-leaved syngoniums, also marginata tri-color.

    Bookmark   May 1, 2013 at 3:46PM
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teengardener1888(NY Albany 5a)

How about summer annuals. I believe pink impatients can get along with them

    Bookmark   May 1, 2013 at 4:37PM
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